Leaders are rare. It is easier to be a follower. Here are techniques that will guide you to lead your team to new heights. In a recent Leadership column, "13 Leadership Tips That Lead to Fast Growth," we explored tips that will help push sales - this list focuses on eight traits/techniques that will be inspirational and get a devoted following in challenging times.

1. Your Goal Is Expansive - Go Big. My company, Marlin makes metal baskets for factories but our mission is to be a leader of the American Manufacturing Renaissance. We aspire for something noble and larger than us. Create a target that motivates your team to go beyond the next level. What is your big inspiring goal?

2. Crisp Mantra - What is the unique business model you offer? What is the difference your team offers which is different than any other company in your market? Have a concise mantra you stress at every meeting and inject in conversations frequently. At my firm, we use "Quality Engineering Quick." This is our strategy simplified. Matter of fact, we had it trademarked. Every major decision is based on whether it will assist us on this mission. Our budget and hiring is based on this guiding principle. What is your mantra?

3. Tackle Challenges Head On - Obstacles in life are the norm. Dodging them is common. A leader identifies problems and fixes them. Develop a plan and assemble your team to fix the topic. Do not take the easy detour - inspirational leaders knock down problems and move to the next challenge.

4. Assemble The Smartest Team - Most managers try to make sure they are the highest IQ person in the room - a leader makes sure they are the lowest IQ in the room. Having the best team makes work more fun and effective. Drama melts away with great talent. Wins accumulate.

5.Get Out Of Your Team's Way - You have worked hard to assemble a great team. Do something exceptional - let them soar. Unleash them so they make it happen - it will build their confidence and let them replicate their success and strive for greater heights.

6. Train Team - Invest heavily in teaching your team so they are the best of breed in the industry. Marlin Steel spends 5% of our direct labor budget in training our team mates. We pay 100% for people getting their Master's, Associates' and welding seminars. We have created a culture of never ending improvement by learning.

7.Gracious Thankful Approach - your team powers your success. They deserve praise. Lots of praise. Do not bottle it up. Give accolades to team mates that perform, that excel. A sincere "Atta Boy/Gal" goes a long way. Lather praise on good performers. This praise will engender trust.

8.Never Stop Learning - Be knowledgeable about your craft. Drink in all you can about your industry - subscribe to magazines and read all you can about your subject matter. Attend trade shows and webinars to know of every facet about your eco system. Observe trends in other industries that you can model and impose in your business that will supercharge you past your competition. Weave in the ideas you have compiled in your research and infuse these clever ideas in your approach. Your team will appreciate your quest for knowledge. Your dynamic forward thinking approach will be embraced.